Standing in front of young educators around the Philippines, I trembled as I started to speak. And as the words found its way to form my first statement, I felt an ease and then I carried on with my 20-minute talk. Those anticipating eyes and eagerness to hear my story, it moved me. It was a fulfilled dream to share my stories to these young bloods. It was my first speaking engagement ever.
It was one of those days when I did a routine email check. The sender was unfamiliar and the content was totally unexpected. It was an invite to be one of the inspirational speakers to the First National Young Teachers’ Boot Camp, a weeklong workshop on improving teaching pedagogy and practice by YOUTeach. The organization is a network of young teachers in the Philippines committed to helping preserve each other’s ideals by providing venues for the sharing of best practices and support initiatives to the education sector of the country.
You are an epitome of what YOUTeacH wants to see through our network--young teachers holding on to their idealism so that amid the challenges we face, we shall achieve our shared goals and dreams together..., the letter stated.
I’ve got goosebumps all over as I read it over and over again. It is truly an honor to even be considered as one of the speakers. It took me a while to recover from the surprise.
Thoughts ran through my mind after reading it for three times; Am I capable of being an inspirational speaker? Will these teachers listen to my story? Would they care? What if I stutter? I gave myself a night to think it over.
The next morning, as I started my morning reflection, there was this image that came into my mind that I was standing in front of a crowd with my tales of teaching, like an audio version of my eskwela blog posts. And just like that, I sent a confirmatory email to Lou, Project Team Member of the boot camp, with a smile on my face. And then I realized, I only had six days to prepare for it.
It was the day. I woke up at three o’clock, prepped up and then met up with my friend who served as my human sponge while I was on pins and needles before the talk. We traveled the miraculously traffic-free EDSA and then boarded a Sta. Cruz- bound bus. My buddy slept all throughout the two-hour trip while my mind wandered off with morning musings as I watched the scenes turned from urban jungle to the misty countryside. It was seven in the morning when we arrived at UP Los Baños, we were two hours early for the event.
I slowly shut my eyes as my head directed towards the heavens, as if meditating. I was organizing my thoughts as my buddy started building his new brick toy, his current obsession. That went on for an hour.
We traced the steps going to the Makiling Ballroom from the Freedom Park. The halls were empty aside from the two security guards manning it. It felt eerie as the deafening silence was disturbed by our leisurely steps on the hardwood plank steps. Everything changed when I saw a room filled with warm bodies in festive mood.
I spoke of the beginnings of my journey in the forever pursuit of happiness that led me to teaching and then focused on passion, dreams, love, and hope. And as I gazed upon the expecting eyes from this young congregation, it inspired me to carry on with my tales. At that moment, I felt liberated and empowered.
|Sa inyong lahat, maraming salamat!|
I was the inspirational speaker but I was the one who was inspired by their dedication in contributing to the welfare of their institutions and to the nation as well. Their energy and enthusiasm are truly admirable and contagious. It was a privilege to be one of the motivational speakers, thanks to the YOUTeacH team and to the wonderful audience who ardently listened to me.
|Lou Mercado - YOUTeacH Team|
|Norby Salonga - YOUTeacH Team|
|Gian Erik Adao - YOUTeacH Team|
|Notes from the participants. This was really cute and touching :)|
It was four days before my birthday and I received the best gift ever; being able to share my experiences in teaching and life in general to the future of Philippine Education. Happiness :)